Suzuki facing a hard job as it is working to regain a foothold in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2011

Suzuki Motor Corporation is struggling to regain a foothold in the United States. In a growing competitive market that offers shoppers unprecedented quality and variety, Suzuki now only offers four nameplates from seven in its peak sales period five years ago. It sells the Equator pickup, Kizashi sedan, Grand Vitara SUV and SX4, although the SX4 has hatchback, crossover and sedan variants.

Director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, David Champion, said Suzuki will have a hard time attracting customers away from rivals and also that future product prospects are murky.

Volkswagen AG, in December 2009, announced a deal to buy 19.9 percent of Suzuki, says Autonews.

The VW deal, plus unfavorable currency rates, delayed Suzuki's plan to bring the subcompact Swift, which is sold in Asia and Europe, to the United States in 2010. American Suzuki executives say it's too early to tell if a deal with VW will lead to new U.S. products.

Suzuki says its goal is to become a niche player instead of a volume performer. American Suzuki’s director of product planning and marketing, Steve Younan, sees the niche as offering technology like the all-wheel drive at a lower price than the competition.

Younan cites as an example the SX4 crossover, a five-door small crossover with all-wheel drive for $17,744, including shipping. He added that part of the carmaker’s message is “bringing the value of technology reserved for a higher price point down to a mass market that everybody can afford.”

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